10 Years To Save The World
Updated: Jan 13
It’s new year’s morning, and I’ve got up at the not-unruly hour of 8:30 to let the dog out. It’s the middle of winter (obviously), but as I open the back door the winter air is barely cool - mild, damn near warm - and I’m watching at least a dozen passerines lazily flitting about near the bird feeder. Eight or so long-tailed tits appear from out of the ivy in the corner - I’ve never seen long-tailed tits in this garden before!
I go back in to make a cup of tea to stare groggily out of the window at the grey morning haze, and in the aftermath of a very merry night last night, contemplate the turn of the decade.
My mum’s antique clock clunks away on the shelf behind me.
I feel fairly good this morning. I didn’t drink much last night. Maybe in the last 10 years I’ve grown up a bit.
It’s hard, I’ll admit, to be optimistic. A lot’s going to change in the next ten years, and while there are opportunities for fantastic leaps into a better tomorrow, there are a lot of things to be very concerned about.
It’s like we’re at a fork in the road - there’s not a fork, there’s a whole spectrum of paths before us, but everything seems to be polarised at the minute and it seems we’re only every presented with extreme binary choices, so while it’s not strictly true it feels like we’re at a fork in the road.
We’ve got some of the most apathetic governments in power in the world at the minute in terms of climate action, still growing division between peoples, still growing inequity between the very rich the rich and the impoverished, and a whole lot of scapegoating going on.
A couple of weeks ago COP 25 failed because some of the most powerful nations failed to agree to take necessary actions on climate change.
And last night, a colossus of fireworks blazed through the night in Sydney Australia while the country literally burned around them, somewhere between a spectacular irony and a spectacular “FUCK YOU” to everything.
Just over a year has passed since we were told that we have until 2030 to take enough action on climate change to allow our species to survive the rest of the century, and very little - if anything - seems to have moved in that direction.
But that’s the reality of it, and here’s hoping ‘10’ is a more compelling number than ‘12’.
We have 10 years to save the world.
Look out of your window. Look your loved ones in the eye. Look to all you hope to achieve in the future. We have 10 years to save all that, and you have to start now.
The next decade needs to be one of the most revolutionary in human history. We have to completely end the burning of fossil fuels, transitioning to renewable energy sources. We have to completely overhaul how we live, eat and travel, and in so doing have to completely overhaul our expectations about what those things should be. We can still indulge, we can still “get rewarded for working hard” (to quote something I heard a lot in last month’s election), but we have to completely change our ideas about what working hard means and what such ‘rewards’ and indulgence entails.
I know that can be daunting, so I’ll break it down into things you and I can do to make this shift actually happen (rather than stalling in the inception and we all burn like Australia).
CHANGES to make in the next ten years (to be achieved as soon as possible):
- Switch your energy provider to renewables.
- Get an electric car.
- Switch to eating sustainably-reared meat / sustainably-sourced fish / ethically grown produce (going as meat-free as you can).
- Stop flying.
- Connect with nature.
- Plant some trees.
- Turn your central heating down by 1º.
- Stop buying shit you don’t need.
- Support each other.
- Have some faith in your fellow humans.
More will follow to expand-upon and further-explore that list over the next few months (as one of the items on my personal list is ‘write more’), and I look forward to sharing those with you.
In the next 10 years a lot will change. In places it’ll be for the better, in places for the worse. Overall we need to change it for the better, and you deserve to feel pride for being part of that.
In the next 10 years I may well have kids, and I don’t want to bring them into a world already falling off a tipping-point into oblivion.
As we take our first steps into this new decade - arguably the most important in human history - remember what you’re a part of. We need to take actions, many of which are to stop doing things that we habitually do and enjoy - we need to make what many of you will think of as ‘sacrifices’. So yes, I’m asking you to sacrifice things you like. Remember that it’s to save the things that we love, and the things that we need. Your sacrifices will not be in vain if we can make enough of an effort, and we need you leading the charge.
It’s not going to be easy - in fact if it’s anything but difficult we’re probably not doing enough. But if we’re lucky, the next ten years will be the worst we have to deal with.